15 weeks as a mom.
I’m not trained in being a mom. And when I write these posts I feel pretty undereducated. I’m professionally trained in disordered eating recovery and improving body image…so I feel competent when I write those posts. But there’s no training for being a mom. I’ve got 15 weeks of experience and that’s it.
I’m not a fan of people who write about things they don’t know anything about, so with mom stuff I share I’m just sharing my experience…not saying I’m doing anything the right way or the way you should do it.
Sometimes I think I overcomplicated everything in my life by overanalyzing it. And for me, having a blog makes me overanalyze what I’m doing more because I know I’m going to get feedback and I want to make sure what I’m doing is right for me, my values, and my family and that I’m ready for that feedback. Sometimes I think I overcomplicate things by overanalyzing them so much. And sometimes I really love that part of me. And other times I overanalyze the overanalyzing lol.
Onto mom life…
Blog and client work
How I used to work doesn’t work for me anymore, which is why posting has been so erratic. Pre-Jojo I’d let a blog post idea marinate in my mind for a few days and then spend 5-7 hours writing the post late into the night. I love working like that. I feel most creative and relaxed at night and love having a job where I can work at that time.
That said. There’s always been a big part of me that felt the blog just replaced my eating disorder. I went from my eating disorder taking up all my brain space (i.e. spending every spare moment I had thinking about how to become smaller) to the blog taking up all my brain space. I think advocating against restrictive eating and body manipulation messages was and is very healing for me and advocacy work can be healing for a lot of people in recovery and will always be a part of my life.
I also think it was a step in the right direction for me…from the all-consuming self-harm and self-hatred of an eating disorder to the fulfilling advocacy work against what contributed to me struggling for so long. But I always knew that wasn’t an end point for me. I’m not made to work all the time and having Jo made me realize how I was working all the time. There’s a saying that goes, “i’d rather work 80 hours for myself than 40 hours for someone else”…that’s still true for me and now that I’ve had a taste of self-employed life I have zero plans of working for someone.
As I’m going through this transition into motherhood and assessing priorities I decided I’m going to start posting occasional God-centered content going forward. While that might not be right for all of you, I hope there will be some of you who resonate deeply with that content. I knew at some point the blog was going to have to take the proper place in my life and percentage of my life. Now that Jo lives with us it’s really easy for me to prioritize things. I’ll still be posting every week, but to put out content I’m happy with (and to give my mind some creative space to ponder and dream about what’s to come next) I won’t be posting every weekday anymore. I was just feeling so busy and hurried all the time. I don’t like that feeling. I’m instead trying to ruthlessly eliminate hurry from my life.
As far as client work, I’m transitioning to a more in-person practice. I still have some virtual clients who I love working with and will still accept new virtual clients from time to time. I care for my virtual clients…I just have found I need a better balance of in-person and virtual sessions. There’s a part of me that wants the connection (and ease, because sometimes technology doesn’t work like it should) of having clients in office.
Andrew and I doing the same thing
A month into mom life I reached out to someone to start a blog redesign and Andrew started a project to add more square footage to our house by converting part of our garage into an indoor laundry room (our washer and dryer are in the garage right now). I think everything felt so chaotic that we both wanted to control something. We even started talking about moving to the suburbs so we could be closer to our parents. We’ve now decided the first 4 months of a baby’s life is not the time to make major life changes lol and we needed to pump the brakes and wait for things to calm down a bit before making a change.
But I think the blog redesign and our updated laundry room are going to be FREAKING SWEET, so I’m not bummed about either of these haha
Eating in Postpartum
Eating has felt really chaotic for me lately. Pretty much all food eaten at meals and snacks are eaten not because I’m craving them but because that is the food that is available and I’m in a RUSHHHHH. My goal for this Sunday is to prep 1 bulk breakfast, 1 dinner and 2 lunches for the week to help myself out and to have food I’m craving ready to go. I hate having to throw together every meal and snack. And I don’t enjoy having to eat out every meal. For me I’ve found it really inconvenient to have to eat all meals out because there’s no tasty options at home.
If you struggle with an eating disorder, it would be extremely easy for your eating disorder to come in during postpartum. There are so many opportunities when you have SO much to do for baby that it would be easy easy easy to skip meals and snacks.
Before Joanna came I had been practicing identifying what I was feeling and what I needed for 4 years at that point. For a while when I felt the urge to engage in an ED behavior it was so helpful to ask myself, “what are you feeling?” “what do you need?” And I would then have to choose a healthful way to cope (at that time exercise was off the table because it’s the way my brain wanted to numb away from everything). Even now I love those two questions to help me stop and identify what is going on and not numb away from what I’m feeling. So when I had Jojo I could identify, “i’m feeling overwhelmed and I need sleep.” But I couldn’t have sleep!!!! I had to care for her! That was and is a tough part of motherhood for me. Identifying what I need and having to put my needs on hold until she’s cared for.
During the first month of Joanna’s life when her sleep was particularly awful and I was up all night I’d make a big cookie and break off a piece at a time as I walked around for hours trying to get her to sleep. I wasn’t usually hungry, but I didn’t know how else to stay awake at night. It gave me something to look forward to when I wasn’t looking forward to having to be up in the wee morning hours. Emotional eating at it’s finest :)
For 2ish months after having Joanna I felt more love towards my stomach than I ever had before. During pregnancy I felt so much affection towards my growing bump, as I think many pregnant women do. It was the first time I felt overwhelmingly positive about my stomach and I wore more skin tight clothing during that time than ever before. Those feelings towards my stomach didn’t go away when she was out. I realize now that during pregnancy I had trained my brain to think positively about my stomach and those feelings stuck with me after she was born. I’d take a bath and just stare down in my belly and be in awe that it housed a baby at one point. Now I’m back to feeling pretty neutral about my belly. I’d say the familiar feeling of I don’t feel good in my body size comes back when I’m really sleep deprived. It’s still an easy out my brain tries to take, but I know that my body isn’t the problem and I make my brain identify what is really overwhelming me.
Plenty of times with my brain I have to be like, “dude. calm down. there’s nothing wrong with your personality/body/etc.”
And I know if I trained my brain to think so lovingly of my belly at one point that I could do it again with daily practice.
Our nanny comes 2 times a week for 8 hours at a time and it’s been really good for me. We found each other on Care.com and she’s great. Anytime I have a thought that says, “joanna is not going to take the bottle.” I counter it with “joanna will take the bottle this week” and Joanna has taken the bottle some each day. Some days she’ll take 6 ounces and somedays she’ll take 16 ounces. I have all the respect for your stay at home mom’s and you full-time working moms (yes, SAHM are working mom’s…I hope you know what I mean).
I’m really grateful to get to work such a flexible schedule. I have a way to make money that is extremely flexibility. I have support from our nanny and our parents. I have mom friends I can be honest with. I have time to go get a massage from time to time. I have alone time during the week. I’ve made time to go to a women’s small group at our church. And I still find this adjustment to being a mom really hard.
In the beginning I was struggling with not making as much money as I did. It’s very easy for me to think “okay we pay the nanny this much, my office space costs this much and I’ve only got this much left over.” Something Andrew reminded me of, that I’ve found really helpful, is the point of working right now is to keep my brain working so when kiddos are older and don’t need me to put them down for 4 naps a day lol…I can amp up work again if that’s right for me then. Even if I was just breaking even on money coming in and money going out I’ve decided I would still want to work. It’s good for me to get out of the house. Andrew also reminded me that the cost of paying for childcare doesn’t fall only on me. We’re a family unit and everyone within that unit deserves to be fulfilled.
A couple weeks ago one of my mom friends texted me saying, “you know when your baby sleeps way longer than usual and you kinda freak out something happened to them as you’re going to check on them.” And I was like, “no. I’ve never experienced that lol. Joanna hates sleep.”
Putting her down for each nap takes 10-30 minutes. Then in the evenings from 7pm to 11pm she’s usually pretty fussy and has trouble staying asleep for more than 10-20 minutes. In her life we’ve had one night where I put her down at 8pm and at 11pm she was still sleeping so I did a dream feed and then she slept til 5am. THAT WAS MAGICAL. And it hasn’t happened again since that one time. There usually isn’t an option to do a dream feed because she just doesn’t sleep that long.
Andrew’s cousin recommended we try gripe water and last night was the first night we used it. It worked wonders! Joanna slept in the evening. For longer than an hour. Which she never does! I’m super pumped and hoping the gripe water is just what she needed. While I didn’t think we’d find one thing that would fix her sleep troubles…I think we found one thing that would fix our sleep troubles haha. If I could start having 2 hours to myself in the evenings again I would turn into a much more sane version of me. Sleep deprivation is roughhhh, but I know we’re moving a better direction.
And, yep. Some nights we’re co-sleeping because THAT’S WHAT WORKS. I’m not a heavy sleeper so we’re comfortable with it. Andrew snapped the above photo, which I find helpful so I can be like “ok x isn’t safe.” I like to pop her little arms out of her swaddle in case she needs to use them to slap me in the face or get my attention. She’s a very expressive baby and let’s me know what she needs or when she’s uncomfortable.
I really don’t mind nursing anymore and there is ZERO pain now (except Jo has started biting me occasionally…and I don’t understand what’s going to happen to my poor nipples when she has teeth lol). I feel MUCH more relaxed about nursing Jo when I’m in public. If we’re at church and everyone closes their eyes to pray and Jo needs to eat I’m like, “go go go get the baby on the boob while everyone has their eyes closed” lol.
I still like being modest about it and bring my nursing cover (when I remember it). I don’t have a plan for how long I want to nurse her for. I’m just gonna see how it goes.
And pumping is fine. I don’t look forward to it and it’s not really enjoyable, but I do it and move on.
One baby thing I’m particularly excited about.
My mom started teaching Jojo baby sign language and I think it’s such a cool idea. I’m gonna lose my mind the first time she signs something back lol. The book we have says you can start anytime with your baby, but typically between 4-6 months is a good time to start. We’re teaching her: tree, mom, dad, Jojo, fan, dog, milk, sleep.
My grandma’s thoughts on Jo’s name.
One grandma thinks Joanna has way too many names: Jo, Jojo, Joanna. The other grandma thinks it’s more of a boys name. And I still love all the names I call it. You know the song “Havana, ooh na-na”? Well we’ve replaced it with “Joanna, ohh na-na”. No idea it that’s actually appropriate or what the song is actually saying, but it’s fine.
That’s all for now:) Any thoughts welcome!